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Fruit & Vegetable Safety

June 14, 2018

Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables provides important health benefits, but it’s important that you select and prepare them safely.

Fruits and vegetables add nutrients to your diet that help protect you from heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. In addition, choosing vegetables, fruits, nuts and other produce over high-calorie foods can help you manage your weight.

But sometimes raw fruits and vegetables contain harmful germs, such as Salmonella E. coli, and Listeria, that can make you and your family sick. In the United States, nearly half of foodborne illnesses are caused by germs on fresh produce.

The safest produce is cooked; the next safest is washed. Enjoy uncooked fruits and vegetables while taking steps to avoid foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning.

At the store or market:

At home:

Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Sprouts are a particular concern because the warm humid conditions needed to grow sprouts also are ideal for germs to multiply. Therefore, eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts may lead to food poisoning. It’s especially important to avoid raw sprouts if you are in a group more likely to get seriously sick from food poisoning: pregnant women, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

 

Groups with a higher chance of food poisoning

            Anyone can get a foodborne illness, but people in certain groups are more likely to get sick and to have a more serious illness. These groups are:

If you or someone you care for has a greater chance of foodborne illness, it’s especially important to take steps to prevent it.

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